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Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business Hardcover – January 1, 2013
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"[A] witty and wise new primer", The Washington Post
“[A] must-read on the ever-evolving movie industry…accessible and entertaining…Obst pulls back the curtain on an industry built on lies and illusion, allowing readers to get in on the ongoing joke.”, Publishers Weekly
“From her unique perch as a maker of real movies—not sequels, prequels, or reboots—Lynda Obst explains why the movies we all loved growing up don't get made anymore. With her sharp wit, she gives an inside account of how the industry has changed but also offers hope that Hollywood will meet the challenges of the digital age and the global marketplace. If you love movies, this is a must read.” -- Arianna Huffington
"A useful primer if you haven't quite figured out why so many blockbusters take place in China these days.”, Forbes
"A real pro—Lynda Obst—has written a realistic book about making film into reality in these days of extremes....She describes what might, may, will happen...A wonderful text book full of mysteries, loss and longing. I just couldn't stop reading it, even though I have never had movie-making impulses." -- Liz Smith, Huffington Post
“If you find yourself reaching for any excuse not to walk into a movie theater these days, here's producer Lynda Obst to explain why in her wildly readable X-ray of contemporary Hollywood. A must read for anyone wondering what happened to the movies we used to love.” -- Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
“Written in warm, conversational prose, Obst’s tales from the movie front together offer an engrossing look at the state of the entertainment industry today.”, Booklist
“Obst...casts a sharp eye over recent developments in Tinseltown. Depth of detail and shrewd illustrative examples make this a must-read for anyone interested in the movie business.”, Kirkus Reviews
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In this book she examines the trends that are changing Hollywood and not to the better for people like me. Maybe the most salient fact is the percentage of foreign viewership going from 20% to over 50% so character stories where the dialog doesn't translate well are very difficult to get made in this environment given the high cost to produce movies. Another subject touched briefly but well is the trends in financing movies and the micro movie trend.
Also interesting is her move to television producing as she sees her movie job disappear. This is followed by great dialog about her relationships as an on site producer at different studios. Just look at the great and popular series being done on TV like "Breaking Bad" to see where some talent is now being directed.
Overall, this is the ultimate current book about the movie business, the good and the bad. I couldn't recommend this book higher.
Obst dissects what she calls The New Abnormal, giving a cogent analysis of why the death of DVDs, the rise of International, and the surprising rise of quality television have forever altered the ways that movies are made & sold.
I worked in the business for 15 years (feature marketing) and I still learned a great deal about the New Hollywood and its MO. Written eruditely, and helped by interviews with many of the real movers & shakers, I pored through this in 2 days!
A little surprised at no mention of her longtime partner, the late Debra Hill, but Hill (perhaps fortunately for her) did not survive to see this Brave New World of sequels, reboots, and utter dearth of original ideas.
She has a chart for the number of sequel-oriented movies or franchise offerings compared to original movies released by big studios, a comparison completely unnerving: 17-0 in favor of the big budget "preawareness" movies. She will continue to give us terminology so helpful in navigating the brave new Hollywood world. These "big" movies she calls tentpoles, while the Indies get the moniker, tadpoles. In a hopeful analysis, she suggests the tadpoles may actually start driving the industry. She concludes the book with the announcement of a Golden Age for television, as the best actors, producers, and writers are now migrating there. If we just look at J.J. Abrams, fully invested in Hollywood blockbusters, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Star Trek, and it has recently been announced he's been handed the Star Wars franchise, he still found it worthwhile to do a series called Fringe, which may go down as one of the best science fiction series of all time, despite its shortish five seasons. TV has an advantage over movies in the room to meander and also the freedom producers and writers are granted to guide what turns out to be a rather grueling undertaking, causing the slang "The Tube," meaning that your life stops for the duration of the project, like living in underground captivity. But, if the two means of producing entertainment play off each other, it could mean a revival in cinema, especially with the anomalous Bridesmaids unanticipated success. Her news isn't all gloomy, but it's concerning, so the voices of the audience need to be heard through attending movies that don't have that big aura attached. Otherwise, it's all bad aliens, vampires, and zombies. We can do better.
Top international reviews
The section of photographs gave me even more the idea of a book written because her friends told her it would be great, and she repaid their kindness by putting photos to them in the book.
She likes the phrase "cause celebre" for some reason.
There was one really good diagram of how Hollywood had become less creative in the last 10 years, but then I saw that it had been copied with permission from a web site.
Save your money. Subscribe to KCRW's Martini Shot podcast instead. (It was there that I heard about the book oddly enough, but the podcasts are better, shorter and free).
Once again, I find myself quoting her in meetings.
(I just wish there was more about here work on Interstellar)
Obwohl das Buch den Niedergang Hollywoods behandelt - wie es noch vor vielleicht zehn Jahren gewesen ist, ist es ein Buch, das vor Kraft und Optimismus nur so strotzt. Lynda Obst beschreibt, wie James Cameron wegen dem Titanic-Film von allen Filmschaffenden als komplett verrückt bezeichnet wurde. Sie beschreibt aber auch, wie viel Kleinarbeit, wie viel Marketing hinter dem Welterfolg steckt. Sie beschriebt, wie ehemalige Filmmogule weinend in ihrem Bungalow herumlagen... und trotzdem immer wieder kreative Menschen wundervolle Filme zustande gebracht haben. Ein tolles Buch über Frauenpower, Hollywood und Erfolg.
The author of this book comes across as incredibly naive and spoiled. Most of the chapters are personal rants against executives from the industry. I lost track of who was who and I didn't made the effort to find out since I didn't care. Even the chapter in TV which I was looking forward to was all about her.
If you want to read the rants of a pampered woman this is your book. If you are looking serious insights into the industry, then stay away.